Regularly sitting in the chair next to my desk in the Murray Center, Naomi would have extended conversations with me full of stories and laughter. She would often talk about life and her love of learning–hypothesizing the deeper meanings and value of her experiences. Sometimes we would not talk at all, doing our work in silent company.
At the end of the spring 2018 semester, Naomi helped create the Murray Center Film series. She would research films about powerful women into the night. I would wake up the next morning to find an email from Naomi listing potential movies, along with meaningful assessments of each movie’s potential significance for women on campus.
Naomi’s intuitive knowledge and resilience shone even through tough times. For me, that will remain one of her enduring legacies.
Dr. Heather Van Uxem Lewis
Coordinator, Murray Center for Women in Technology
Naomi challenged me to be a better professor and mentor, just as she challenged her classmates to be better students. She was widely liked for her intelligence and sense of humor, and I know she affected those around her like few students do. Wisdom beyond her years, and passion for learning, social justice, as well as life that made you certain that better things are ahead even in troubled times. The NJIT community would do well to follow her example. Strive to be your best self whenever you remember her–because that was her wish for you.
Associate Professor of History
It is tragic when a student passes away. It shatters the dreams we all have for them, and our dreams for Naomi were enormous. Naomi was an excellent student—very smart, very insightful, and very hardworking. As professors, we hope for even one of those qualities in a student and having all three together like Naomi did is a delight. Her written work was excellent—in particular, I remember an outstanding and well-researched final paper on how the legal system continues to use the “laws of nature” to perpetuate inequality. She also helped make discussions in class vibrant and energetic. With these qualities, Naomi would have achieved so many great things.
But Naomi made the ordinary everyday better as well, by being so kind and so funny. On a trip to Seton Hall Law School she lent out beautiful fountain pens to nearly every other student on the trip. But she also made sure she got them back. She instructed us all how to pronounce her name, but she gave us two options. She volunteered to be a peer mentor to a new student even though she was working an enormous number of hours at a law firm and taking a full slate of classes. She had so much enthusiasm about contributing to our patent law blog, where I’m thankful her work will live on.
One time I advertised that a famous historian would be presenting a talk over at Rutgers. As it sometimes goes, I arrived a couple minutes late to the event. I assumed I would have to stand in the back due to the popularity of the speaker, but Naomi had saved a seat for me. This was such a small kindness, but it was so thoughtful and warmhearted. Best of all, because she had saved me a seat, she and I got to chat about the talk. Naomi’s insights made a great talk even better. I will miss her.
Associate Professor and Director of LTC
I will always remember that beneath her amazing style and flair was a person of great substance. She was sharp and cared deeply about social justice and civil rights. So, as much as I will remember her smile and magnetic personality (which I am sure most of us will), I will also remember someone who persevered so she could realize her immense intellectual potential and use it to help others.
Kyle Riismandel, PhD
Senior University Lecturer, Federated History Department
I remember Naomi, Beshoy, and I would go to the atrium to hang out. Beshoy would play the piano, and Naomi would sing. I can’t do either, so I felt awkward tagging along at first, but over time I feel like we all just enjoyed being there together—not only making music, but talking, joking, and spending time together as friends.
I feel like small moments like these are what make the “college experience”. Not classes, clubs, or parties, but three friends, sitting around a piano and enjoying each other’s company, thinking this is how our lives are going to be.
I used to spend many evenings in the Vector newsroom to catch up on work or begin new assignments, and would get distracted whenever Naomi popped in to visit—which was often. From there, she would settle down in either the couch or on top of the desk—swinging her legs about—as we gossiped about our days, sighed about our incessant workload, and talked about law school.
We talked about the future a lot, and I told her of my dreams and goals, and how I didn’t think they were “realistic” enough to be accomplished. Naomi had never fed me any doubt. She always encouraged me to set my goal LSAT score and provided helpful tips to make that dream a reality—yet, never disclosed her own score to me. She probably finds it funny how no one in the LTC department will ever find out.
This is only one of the many stories I have of my friendship with Naomi, and the respect that I had for her as a person, a mentor, and a role model. She was incredibly gracious, graceful, and blatantly sassy. Naomi exemplified what it is to be a classy, intelligent young woman determined to pursue her dreams. She always made sure to help others succeed along with her. I will miss her very much.
Law, Technology, & Culture, B.A.
It would be hard to sit here and think of my absolute favorite memory of Naomi. I’ve come to the conclusion that no singular memory of any human being will ever do them justice, and this is twice as true in Naomi’s case. There were so many things I knew her for, that it’s hard to sit here and pick one memory that represents her best.
I knew her for being a fierce debater, but not one to debate for fun. She debated with passion, she debated real issues—she debated as if that singular issue meant everything to her. I knew her as a reluctant future-lawyer. She actually disliked lawyers (routinely telling me she would never marry one), and the whole legal profession, but understood that if she wanted to make a difference, she had to know the law.
I knew her for being an incredibly hard worker. Always walking into class, composed even when she was late, with a large bag full of all the readings required for the day.
I knew her as a phenomenal singer. The first time I heard Naomi sing it was like I was transported back to a golden age of music, with Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra. I knew her as a fierce yeller, as she’d routinely yell at me anytime I scheduled a Pre-Law Society meeting without first telling her.
But I’m happy that in the end, I knew her as a great friend. One that gave me great advice, countless hours of debates, and a lifetime of Blaze pizza and Starbucks. I remember the first time we actually referred to each other as friends, primarily because that word had a lot of weight with her. She told me that she didn’t just call anyone a “friend”, and that she reluctantly would have to call me one, since we spent so much time together. It was so funny; at the time I was both insulted and proud. I’m lucky to have been friends with such an amazing, authentic person, and hope she knew just how much all of her friends loved her.
Law, Technology, & Culture, B.A.